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if you try to hide it, it's gonna shine even more

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David sucked in a gasping breath as they took their bows. The spotlight was harsh and he felt a line of sweat run down from his temple. He'd definitely need to at least wash his face before he went back to the motel, there was no reason to look like he'd just ran a marathon. As he came up from the last bow, the sound of polite applause surrounding him, he blinked through the dancing dots of light from the spotlight to see Patrick. Patrick, who appeared to be sitting next to Alexis. Fuck . He turned to Moira, who was still basking in the attention. He gently looped his arm through hers and ushered her back through the doorway that they had come out of.

“David, that was simply marvelous. I think that was our best since the year we included the tap break.”

He winced. That had been the year he was preparing for the Little Mister’s pageant and his feet still ached at the thought. He tilted an ear toward the doorway and heard Jocelyn giving a closing speech. “How about you go and find dad?”

“What a splendid idea.” She headed toward the doorway they came from, but then came back long enough to cup David’s face and give a look of appreciation before whisking off. 

He leaned his body up against the wall. Why had Patrick shown up? Before when it was just his mother performing he didn’t want Patrick to show up, worried that she’d embarrass him somehow. Then, when he decided to help his mom, he really didn’t want Patrick to show up. If Alexis told him he was going to steal her eye cream as payback. The sound of feet approaching had him open his eyes to see Patrick walking toward him, a small bouquet of flowers in hand.

“Only performers are allowed back here,” David teased.

Patrick smiled. “Sounds like you need to tighten security.” He pressed a kiss to David’s cheek. “These are for you.”

David took the bouquet, a smile on his face he couldn’t quite suppress. “Um, who told you about this?”

Patrick frowned. “David, it’s advertised all across town. Twyla and Bob were talking about it at the café. Ray asked me if I was going when I went to go change into this.” He gestured to the blazer.

David rubbed his hands up and down Patrick’s shoulders. “Mmm, but did you know I was performing? Like specifically the reason you came was to see me?”

“Well, no you weren’t on the promotional material,” Patrick gently teased. “And honestly I was running late because of the bouquet. I was trying to impress Mrs. Rose which really in hindsight was a big risk because I have a feeling she’s the kind of person to be particular about flowers.”

David nodded. “She hates pink carnations.”

“Anyway, by the time I got here, you two were about to perform. Alexis filled me in on the whole backstory.”  

“And then you ducked out and came back for the end right?” 

Patrick furrowed his brows. “No, I stayed? I wanted to watch you perform. You did a fantastic job by the way.”

The cogs in David’s mind started to turn. Historically, he hadn’t shown his partners much of himself, and anything remotely embarrassing? He'd make sure they weren't even in the vicinity of it. But Patrick was different. Objectively, at this point, he knew Patrick was different than the others, something Alexis and Stevie loved to point out. Yet, once again Patrick continued to prove that point. Not only had he'd originally come to support his boyfriend's mother (and who even did that?) but once he watched what transpired he didn't run away or hurtfully tease David. No, he gave him flowers, something David can't recall many if any of his partners doing, and told him he did a good job. 

Looking at him, slightly in shadow thanks to the town hall's shitty lights, all fond eyes, and earnestness, the words slipped out of David before he could think. "I love you."

David watched as Patrick's face slackened in awe and confusion before the confusion faded and turned into unfettered joy. He placed a hand on either side of David's face, David hoped he ignored the sweat that was still on his face. "David, I love you."

Fireworks went off in his head. When he'd made the impromptu declaration a part of him hadn't expected Patrick to reciprocate, and technically it wasn't an expectation for him to do so. It was more so that part of David thought Patrick wouldn't say it because he'd be saying it to David. Instead, he's being held by his boyfriend, who loves him , and he grabbed Patrick's forearms and pulled them into a kiss. It was a simple, quiet kiss and when they pulled away, Patrick smiled and gently pushed back David's sidebang. 

"So how likely am I to get to see this again?" he said nodding toward David's hair.

"If I have my way, never."

Patrick pushed his bottom lip forward in an exaggerated pout. "But David what if I said I loved your hair this way?"

"Then I think we'd need to break up. This is not a good look on me. I already have to deal with the fact that this," he gestured toward his body, "is what I wore when we exchanged 'I love yous' for the first time."

Patrick rubbed his palms along David's sweater. "So the next time we hit a relationship milestone I should check in and make sure you're wearing an appropriate outfit?"

David smiled. "Exactly, thank you for understanding."

Patrick pulled David back into him and soon Patrick's back hit the wall as they languidly kissed. Patrick's hand crept up under David's sweater and he felt the heat of Patrick's palm through his undershirt. The other hand gripped at his shoulder and David felt anchored in the moment. 

There weren't many things or people that David loved, but he could say with one hundred percent that he loved Patrick Brewer.